With just six days left before one of the most important midterm elections in recent memory, the Business Council of Westchester’s Political Leadership Series presented a timely and highly informative program featuring state political leaders and commentators. Titled Red Wave, Blue Wave: The 2018 Mid-Term Elections, the program was held Wednesday at Pace University’s Pleasantville campus.
New York State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox kicked off the program with an overview of statewide and national races. He said the Republicans are looking to pick up a few seats in the Assembly while on the national level there will probably be a Democratic majority in the House with Republicans picking up two or three more seats in the Senate.
He said the governor’s race is “very much about Andrew Cuomo running against President Trump. Not only here but nationally because he wants to be the next President of the United States.” He noted that the results of the past three gubernatorial races in New York show Upstate is “getting redder and redder.”
New York State Democratic Party Executive Director Geoff Berman said there is a “tremendous increase in Democratic participation” in New York. He noted that in the recent Democratic primary for Governor there were three times the number of Democratic voters than in the equivalent primary four years ago. “Governor Cuomo received more Democratic votes in the primary than any governor in New York history. And it wasn’t even a particularly close race,” he said. “People are eager to come out and have their voices heard.”
Berman said healthcare and gun control are among the top issues resonating with Democratic voters this year. “If we pick up two or three or more House seats here in New York, I think that will be indicative of flipping the House Democratic.”
Mimi Rocah, who is MSNBC & NBC Legal Analyst and Pace Law School Distinguished Fellow, warned of political interference in the nation’s justice system. “We are living in a dangerous time when some of our political leaders are inflicting what I believe is untold damage on the institutions that form the basis of our justice system,” said Rocah, who is a former Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York.
She said there is “an intrusion on the previously well-guarded independence of law enforcement and our justice system in ways that we have simply never seen before.”
She concluded, “This issue is bigger than politics. It’s about security and safety. It’s about the things that are really at the soul of our democracy — the rule of law and independence of our justice system.”
In addition to the election overview by the state political committees, the program also featured “The Battle for the Senate,” with remarks by State Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins; State Senator Michael Gianaris, who is New York State Senate Democratic Campaign Committee Chair, and State Senator Fred Akshar of the 52nd Senate District and Chair of the Senate Labor Committee who represented State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan.
“Every two years, the BCW presents our political election forum for business leaders to hear how the election will affect the business community and economic development in our region,” said BCW Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer John Ravitz who noted that the BCW does not endorse political candidates.
Photo caption from left, BCW Executive Vice President and COO John Ravitz; MSNBC & NBC Legal Analyst and Pace Law School Distinguished Fellow Mimi Rocah; BCW President and CEO Marsha Gordon and Pace University President Marvin Krislov